The My Transsexual Summer gang. Image: maxwellzachs.blogspot.co.uk
In 2011 I was low and I was confused. I didn’t feel I knew who or what I was.
I hated going out and socialising, I just felt so uncomfortable. I was robotic at work and avoided interacting with colleagues on any meaningful level.
I also knew I liked dressing up as a girl in my spare time, so I wondered if I was just a gay guy with this as his sexual kink. But I never used wigs or makeup because I felt I would look stupid.
I had seen trans-related sites. I’d even started creating a profile on one before deciding that these people were in a different league, they were real people and I wasn’t like them.
I’d experimented briefly with hormones having read in horror that the older you were the less effective they would be, but my self-doubt meant I never kept it up long term.
And then, in November 2011 I saw the first episode of My Transsexual Summer.
Realisation hit me like a slap in the face.
I was transgender.
And it was ok.
The show featured 7 real people who were in various stages of their own transitions. There were some who were like me, just starting out in coming to terms with their identity. Then there were also more established people, comfortable with themselves, living full-time, and preparing for operations.
There were 4 episodes which brought the people together to share their experiences. The producers arranged activities like everybody going to a local pub and self-defence classes together. They were able to support and help each other. The show also looked at their relationships with family and friends, and their hopes for the future.
It was my first exposure to real transgender living, they were real people, living their real lives.
After the first episode I bought a proper wig, not one of those cheap fancy dress style ones I had in the box under my bed.
After the second episode I took a picture and put it online. I’d had pictures on the web before, but with my eyes blanked out or looking away. This however, was a picture of my face, and I haven’t looked back since…
Sometimes we need an external trigger to help us realise something about ourselves, and My Transsexual Summer was definitely mine.
My Transsexual Summer is available on 4OD. Watch it here.
Now you see it, now you don’t!
In May last year I decided to have a tracheal shave. I had never had any surgery before, so this was a big step for me. A tracheal shave is a small procedure to reduce the size of the Adam’s apple, literally by shaving it down a bit.
I felt that while I could cover a potential beard shadow with makeup, there was no hiding my Adam’s apple. I had found myself angling my head to try and block views of my throat, and trying to edit it out of pictures.
Women do have Adam’s apples too you know, just a lot less pronounced, and the surgery would hopefully enable me to be more like that.
I had opted to have the surgery under local anaesthetic, and although they placed a cover over my eyes to protect me from the bright surgery lights, it was a truly weird experience being fully conscious and aware as my neck was opened up and operated on. Although I could feel what they were doing, the anaesthetic meant I couldn’t feel any pain.
The operation didn’t take that long, and after it was over I only had to spend a few hours in the hospital and I was released to go home and begin my recovery!
Or so I thought.
Things didn’t quite go according to plan, as you’ll discover in Part II…
Hard at work in my day job
This is a question that I get asked a lot, and the simple answer is ‘No’.
But this, to me at least, is a much more complicated question than people realise.
Not wanting to be picky, but what is full-time? Do I have a female name and present as a girl all the time? No.
But I do present as me full-time. I’ve got long(ish) hair, pierced ears, wear kinda girlie stuff and am mostly open about what I do in my spare time.
There was a time when ‘Jen’ was a wig and some false breasts in a box under my bed.
That time is long gone!!
So, barring the name and a trowel-load of makeup, yes I am full-time.
Although I do fully intend, in the future, to be more full-time than I am now.
If you know what I mean…
Jen through the ages
…I was ready to take the plunge and finally go out for the first time all dressed up.
It was a massive step for me and really set the tone for the next few years.
Goes into a dreamlike state and starts to reminisce
I had been brave enough to post a picture of my face on tvchix in (I think) November 2011. Every comment I got was very supportive and encouraged me to consider the next level, going out in public.
It took a few months until I got so frustrated with myself that I could push past the fear and actually do it!
So in May 2012 I went to my first LFF.
I’d arranged to head in with another girl who was also going out for the first time, and I still remember the fear and trepidation we had after calling for a taxi.
All that instantly evaporated however when we walked in through the door of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. The bar was full, and I mean completely full, of people just like us!!
The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, but everyone we talked to was really friendly and happy to help a couple of first-timers feel at home.
And, through my massive hangover the next morning, I remember the warm, happy feeling that the June LFF was only a month away.
I have a rubber duck on my desk at work. A colleague suggested it after getting bored of me bending his ear about whichever problem I was facing (see rubberduckdebugging).
“Talk to the duck” is now one of his favourite phrases.
It works quite well as I often find myself having a lightbulb moment while explaining the problem to the duck.
I like to think of myself as being like Greg House from the TV show.
Although I have started chewing on the duck’s head…
I’m also considering getting another latex dress. Westwardbound really need to stop tempting me with 30% off deals.
Maybe I’ll ask the duck if she thinks it’s a good idea.